Public health: Saving lives, saving money
UD activities, national campaign aimed at showing return on investment
11:33 a.m., April 11, 2013--The 2013 National Public Health Week (NPHW) was organized around a concept more familiar to the business world than the health arena return on investment (ROI).
A video produced by the American Public Health Association gives ROI examples ranging from food and nutrition education, with a $10 return for every dollar spent; biking and walking opportunities with potential benefits of about $12; fluoridated water at $40; and child safety seats yielding a $42 return all in avoided medical and dental costs.
“I think this theme reflects our current economic climate,” said Mia Papas, who organized the NPHW activities at the University of Delaware from April 1-7. “Many of our students hadn’t heard about sequestration or the fiscal cliff before, but this brought it home to them and helped them see that public health is about real dollars. The campaign showed that programs targeting interventions such as smoking cessation, physical activity, seat belt use, immunizations, and nutrition have a real economic impact.”
Hundreds turned out at UD for activities targeted at safety in the home, school, workplace, and gym and promoting the benefits of physical activity. Events included classes, movies, information kiosks, and demonstrations.
“The events of this past week showed the students that it all starts here, with them,” said Papas, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition.
“The goal is for them to understand that their health is not just about themselves but about the health of the entire community. We want everyone to know about the public health minor offered here at UD. It’s open to students in all majors because no matter what path you follow, what you do has an impact on health.”
The events were sponsored by the Public Health Club and the Health Behavior Science Club.
Article by Diane Kukich
Photos by Doug Baker